Tag Archive 'Quilling Tips'

Nov 16 2009

Snowflake Ornament Quilling Card

christmas-quilling-class-snowflake-cardsI want to thank all of the ladies who attended the Christmas quilling class at the Marietta Community School.  I hope you had a great time because I know I sure did!
Our class project was a Christmas card with a detachable snowflake ornament.  I am very proud of the snowflakes the students quilled.  This group photo of the students’ cards shows their talent and creativity.  The snowflakes are not glued to the front (which is why they may appear to be crooked), but swing loose which makes for a fun surprise when the recipient opens the card.
snowflake-card-holeWhen creating the card, I punched a 1/16″ hole in the card at the top of the circle background.  This allowed me to thread the snowflake’s hanging loop through to the inside where I secured it with a piece of tape.
snowflake-card-inside1Many of us are on a tight budget, but you don’t have to trim your gift giving list this year.  These cards are perfect when you need a little something this holiday season for co-workers, as a hostess gift, or for members of your book club.  You can whip up a batch quite inexpensively, but I guarantee they’ll be appreciated and make a lasting impression.    
Quilling Tip:  I used a printed paper that reminded me of a starry night as the background for my snowflake, but many combinations are possible.  A quilled wreath would be great attached to a card featuring a home’s front door.  A quilled snowman could grace a card showing children playing in the snow.  Or quill a stocking and attach it to a card that shows a fireplace with a roaring fire.

4 responses so far

Nov 03 2009

Library Book Sales

Published by under Quilling News

Twice a year, my local library system conducts a book sale of hardbacks, paperbacks, children’s books, magazines, and tapes, that have been either culled from circulation or donated by patrons for the sale.  With the emergence of online used book sales through ebay, Amazon, etc., the lines are long and the sale is crowded, but if you are up for it, attending one of these events can lead to awesome treasures at a fraction of the price for new books (from $0.10 – $1).  
library-booksI limit myself to two tote bags — if I can’t carry it, I can’t have it.  Others, however, show up with rolling carts and suitcases!  I have purchased some really nice old Christmas craft books along with some new ones on rubber stamping which provide wonderful inspiration for card layouts I can use with my quilling.  For those into altered art, the possibilities are endless.  I was raised in a household where books were revered and you didn’t mark in them, let alone cut them up, so I have a harder time thinking about books as potential art material, however I did pick up a pocket-sized 1978 World Atlas full of maps.  I think that pieces of it would make a wonderful addition to a bon voyage card or scrapbook page of that special trip.
Contact your local library or visit their website to see if they have annual book sales.  For me, I find it well worth the effort.
Quilling Tip:  Readers Digest condensed books, or other nicely bound books, look wonderful as props for your quilling.  Stack two on their side and top them with a piece of your framed quilling to create a bookshelf display you’ll be proud of.

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Oct 09 2009

Quilled “Boo!” Halloween Card

Next week I am teaching my first basic quilling class with a Halloween theme.  It will also be my first Mommy & Me class (mother & daughter pairs), so I am really looking forward to it.  For each class, I provide my students with three original quilling patterns along with all of the materials necessary to complete three projects.  After making the basic shapes for their take-home chart, we complete one of the projects in class.  They can then keep quilling at home with the other two projects… and get hooked on quilling (I hope)! 
I was looking around the web for inspiration and ran across a card that spelled “boo!” using a chipboard letter “b” and exclamation point “!”.  For the letter “o” they used jack-o-lantern stickers.  It was so cute and I knew it would be just perfect as one of the class projects since each pair could make the card together, with the Mommy quilling one of the pumpkins and the child quilling the other.  I wanted to put a photo of the inspiration card on this blog, but it is on a major site and I honestly couldn’t figure out who to ask, so I am including the link here so you can click over and take a look.
I am very happy with how my quilled Halloween card turned out. 
Being creative doesn’t have to be expensive.  All of the supplies for this card came from my own stash, except for the ribbon that was on sale this week at Michaels.  Use what you have to make quilled cards for each season.  The lucky recipient will thank you for it.
Quilling Tip:  The idea of using objects for letters is not new.  An arching black cat would make a perfect “h” in Halloween.  And a quilled witches broom could be the “l”, or used as an exclamation point.  You could even quill the spider from the last post and use it for the “o”  in “Boo!” instead of the pumpkins.  Just make its body out of a larger loose coil and shorten the legs, making him more of an “o” shape. 
If you have been inspired my card, please take a moment and leave a comment.  I would enjoy hearing from you! 

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Aug 31 2009

Quilling Inspiration — Modify a Quilling Design to Suit Your Needs

Published by under Quilling Inspiration

Shortly after sending out my first newsletter, I received a lovely comment post from Rick Whitman,
“Thanks for sharing your ideas. The rose pattern came just in time as I’m working on a wedding invitation and was looking for a fill in. I used a strip of variation paper (shaded from red to white and back to red) and it came out beautifully.” 
Needless to say, I was thrilled to know that someone had actually created a rose from my pattern and I asked her if she would send me a photo. 
Fig 1

Fig 1

Rick had matted a wedding picture of her husband’s greatniece who married Mr. Rose (hence the roses), along with the front and inside of their wedding invitation.  She then quilled beautiful flower sprays to decorate the mat, duplicating the flowers used in the bridesmaids’ bouquets.  She did a great job and I can only imagine how pleased the bride will be to receive such a loving reminder of her wedding day.

Fig 2

Fig 2

Rick took the pattern I provided and changed it by using the variegated paper (Fig 1).  I think that it softened the rose and made it a better fit for her overall design.  She used the rose pattern again in her floral spray at the bottom of her piece (Fig 2), but changed the center teardrop of the rose to a marquise and omitted the rose leaves.  

You don’t need to copy a pattern exactly — use it as a jumping off point to quill the piece that you see in your own mind.  Change the colors, change the shapes, change the background … there are so many ways to change a pattern to make it your “own.”  You may think that you are not creative enough to come up with original patterns, but I’m willing to bet you can.  Creating an original pattern is as much a skill as anything and skills can be learned.  Start by making changes to an existing pattern.  Then make a few changes to the changes.  Pretty soon, you will see your own quilling style, your own creative voice, emerge. 
You can read more about Rick Whitman, and see some beautiful photos of her quillwork, on Pat Caputo’s Whimsiquills blog.

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Aug 24 2009

Quilling Tip — Hiding the Paper Seams

When I am working on a piece of quilling, I don’t like to see the seam where the end of the paper strip is glued to the coil.  To me it looks unfinished and I try to avoid showing these seams when I can.  Picky?  Perhaps, but I think it gives the quilling a more polished appearance.  I have been using three tricks for years to help minimize the tell-tale seam left behind when making quills from loose coils and thought I would share them with you.
Fig 1

Fig 1

1.  Tear Your Paper Ends

Make sure that the end of the paper strip you glue down is torn so that the fibers blend into the coil.  If you glue down a cut edge, the seam is much more noticeable.  You can see the difference in Fig 1.  The coil with the cut end is on the left and the one with the torn end is on the right.
Fig 2

Fig 2

2.  Coil Shaping Tricks

There are two ways to hide the seams when making shaped coils (teardrops, marquises, squares, etc.).  The first method is to pinch the coil into the shape so the glued end of the paper is even with the pinched edge.   This gives a beautiful finish to the coil.   In Fig 2, the teardrop on the left has been pinched with the end at the tip where it all but disappears.  The teardrop on the right was shaped with the end clearly visible on the side.   Shaping my coils with the end at the tip is the method that I use 99% of the time.   However, if I know that the seam will be covered by another paper strip, such as a rose bud covered with a paper stem, I pinch the teardrop with the seam at the bottom.
Fig 3

Fig 3

3.  Hide Seams During Assembly

When possible, glue the seam ends or sides of your coils to each other when assembling your quillwork.  For example, if you are creating a flower from marquise coils, glue the tips with the pinched ends together for the center.  If you are combining a coil and a scroll (Fig 3) glue the seam end of the marquise inside the fold of the scroll. 
Fig 4

Fig 4

When gluing two loose coils together, try and turn the coils so that as one coil ends, the next one seems to begin, like an S-scroll only in two pieces (Fig 4).  

I’m sure these hints are old news to the seasoned quillers out there, but I hope they help those new to the art take their quilling to the next level.  Remember — it’s all in the details. 

4 responses so far

Aug 11 2009

Quilling Experiment — Puffy Markers

Published by under Quilling Technique

puffy-markersPuffy Velvet Fabric Markers by Marvy® Uchida are, as the name clearly indicates, made for fabrics.  However, paper crafters have discovered these markers and the product packaging now states that they are also “great for paper crafts.”  I was introduced to these markers through a very creative Yahoo! Group I belong to called the Scrapbook Lounge and have long wondered if the markers could be used with quilling.  Now that I have my blog I just had to buy some and try it — all in the name of research, you understand.  LOL!!!
Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Like many markers on the market, when you first open one, you need to shake it and then press the tip down on some scrap paper so the color can fill the tip.  Once the color flows, you are good to go. 

Continuing the rose theme from my last blog entry, I made two red rose buds.  I left one plain (Fig. 1) and painted the other one with the red marker. 
Fig. 2

Fig. 2

After letting it dry for 30 minutes per the instructions, I heated it with the heat gun and it puffed — a lot (Fig. 2).  While I didn’t like it enough to use it on my quilling, I found the effect very interesting and wanted to give it another try.  I quilled another rose bud and applied the fabric paint, but this time I immediately patted it with a paper towel to remove any excess paint. 

Fig. 3

Fig. 3

When I applied the heat gun, it didn’t puff nearly as much (Fig. 3).  The instructions tell you not to rub it after the puff-up effect is achieved, but I just had to touch it and it does, indeed, feel very soft and velvety.  I thought that this rose was worthy of finishing and made it into a card, just like I did with the plain one.

I next tried the yellow marker, but experienced very different results.  I couldn’t get the yellow paint to “puff.” 
Fig. 4

Fig. 4

You’ll see in Fig. 4 that the top rose is plain for comparison.  The middle rose has the puffy paint on, but it just didn’t do anything.  Trying to be fair, I made another yellow rose and gave it go.  In trying to get the paint to puff, you can see that I held the heat gun on the rose too long and burned the paper.  Oops!  I really don’t know if the problem is with the puffy paint marker or the user.  

My pack of markers includes the color black and you might just see this product again as I try it with some spiders and bats at Halloween.  If you would like to give it a try, you will find the Puffy Velvet Fabric Markers in the fabric paint section of your local craft store, not with the paper craft markers.  
How about you?  Do you know of a product that might work well with quilling?  Leave me a comment and I’ll investigate the possibilities.
Quilling Tip:  It is better to quill the rose bud, apply the paint and puff it with the heat tool before finishing the rose with the calyx and stem to avoid the possibility of the puffy paint bleeding onto the calyx.

Newsletter Teaser

The first issue of my newsletter is almost ready.  I don’t want to give away all of the surprises, but I can tell you that it contains a free quilling pattern for the rose featured in this blog, along with complete instructions for turning it into a romantic card for that special someone.  So, if you haven’t yet signed up for my newsletter, do it now.  You won’t want to miss it!

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Jul 18 2009

How To Glue Your Quilling to a Background Surface

Unless you are creating a stand-alone, 3D paper sculpture, you will probably be attaching your finished quilling to some type of backing. This might be a card, scrapbook page, or a piece of mat board that you intend to frame. No matter what the surface, you will want to glue the quilling securely and cleanly with no glue showing to detract from your art.
There are several methods for applying the glue to the back of your quilling.
glue-by-dippingSpread a very thin layer of glue as large as your quilllwork onto a flat surface like a plate or plastic lid. Using a pair of tweezers, pick up your quilling, touch the bottom edges of the paper to the glue, then place it on the desired backing. A thin glue (such as Elmer’s) works best for this technique. If you normally use a thick, tacky glue for quilling, you might try thinning it with a drop or two of water. You want the glue thin enough to spread thinly and evenly over your flat work surface. A foam brush helps to spread the glue. If the glue is too thick, the loose center of the coils will stick to the gluing surface, pulling them apart and ruining your piece. This method works especially well when tendrils and vines are part of the design. Once you have the glue on the back of your quillwork, you need to attach it exactly where you want it. If you try and slide your quilling into the correct placement, you will leave glue smudges. Any glue you see will turn shiny and even though it is clear, it will be noticeable.
glue-with-paintbrushYou can also use a small paintbrush to paint the glue onto the back of your quilling. Use care in touching only the bottom edges of the paper with the glue to avoid unwanted globs or smudges. Again, a thinner glue is easier to spread with the paintbrush. Tweezers are useful to help hold the quilling and assist in placement when glued.  
glue-with-toothpickI actually don’t use either of these methods. I spread glue on the back of my quilling using a toothpick. I pick up a little glue on the tip of the toothpick and roll the toothpick over the quills. Depending on the design, I apply glue to the tight rolls and centers of the quills to allow a little more “wiggle room” when placing the quilling on my background. If glue is not over the entire back, I can slide the quilling just a tad if needed without the glue showing. If I do end up with a bit of glue on the background, I slightly moisten a fresh toothpick (you don’t want it dripping) and gently wipe up the glue. 
Quilling Tip:  Make sure your background surface is ready before you apply glue to the back of your quillwork. You don’t want the glue to dry before you have a chance to attach the quilling. If not, you will have to apply more glue which increases your chances of having glue showing on your finished art.

5 responses so far

Jul 10 2009

Make Yourself a Quilling Idea Box

Published by under Quilling Inspiration

Creative ideas — we all have them, but do you capture them for future use?  If not, you are losing a very valuable crafting resource.  
Flashes of inspiration can occur anytime, anywhere. You may be browsing through a home decorating magazine and spot a color combination you wouldn’t normally choose. It catches your eye and you begin thinking that the colors would look striking on a handmade card. Or you see a floral arrangement that is quite out of the ordinary. You begin imagining it recreated in quilled flowers. It is such a good idea that you are sure you will remember it later. But, sadly, you probably won’t.
Last year, when I decided to get serious about my quilling, I realized just how many ideas I was losing track of. Sometimes the idea would return at a later time when I happened upon the same set of circumstances that sparked it in the first place, but I know that many are gone for good. To save as many ideas as possible, I created an idea box.
At a local office supply store I purchased a sturdy 3″x5″ card box, along with a set of tabbed dividers and cards printed in fancy colors (just because they made me smile). An unused recipe box you have tucked away or found at a yard sale together with scrap card stock cut to size could certainly be used and would be a great way to recycle. The tabbed dividers had the names of the months printed on them, so I turned them around and used the back. I wrote the names of the categories I wanted on some blank peel-and-stick labels I had, cut them to size, and stuck them on the tabs. Some of the categories I use are 3-D Quilling, Ornaments, Floral Ideas, Greeting Cards, Christmas, and Bits & Pieces, for ideas that don’t seem to fit elsewhere. You should customize your tabs to fit your own ideas.
idea-cardThe beauty of this system is that it not only allows me to capture a brief description of my idea, but to include a sketch, crude as it may be, or attach the actual picture that provided the original inspiration. I scanned one of my cards to show you what I mean. It’s not “pretty” and I certainly had no idea at the time I made it that anyone else would ever see it, but I think it accurately demonstrates my point.
Remember, with this system you aren’t designing your project, just jotting down enough information to jog your memory at a later time. This is meant to be a quick and easy tool used to capture the spirit of the idea before it is lost, not necessarily the details. If the process turns into a chore, you won’t use it. 
I encourage you to make your own Quilling Idea Box and keep it near your work space. When you have an idea, jot it down. When you need inspiration at a later date, simply open your box and look through your cards. I have no doubt that you will see a note that will start your creative juices flowing.  

One response so far

Jun 26 2009

Quilling Paper Bead American Flag Pin

quilled-bead-american-flag-pin-copyrightJuly 4th is right around the corner and I wanted to create a special quilling project to celebrate America’s birthday.  I was looking around the Internet for patriotic images when I happened upon an American flag made with safety pins and pony beads.  Now, this is not a new craft; children have been making safety pin jewelry for years.  But this time when I saw the photo something clicked and I began to wonder if I could substitute quilled beads for the plastic pony beads.   I pulled out a safety pin from my sewing basket and made a few tight coils as test beads.  I slipped them on the safety pin and realized that the idea would work.  After a trip to my local craft store for the safety pins, I was ready to make my own version of this childhood crafting classic. 
You will need
Basic quilling tools (discussed earlier)
Quilling paper, 1/8″:  red, white, blue
(1) Size No. 3, 2″ safety pin, silver
(8) 1-1/4″ coiless* safety pins, silver
10-inch piece of 20 Gauge wire, silver
6-inch piece ribbon, 1/4″ wide, yellow
Acrylic spray sealer (optional)
Wire cutters
Needle nose pliers
What to do 
Quill (9) blue 3″ tight coils, (26) red 3″ tight coils, and (21) white 3″ tight coils.  If you think that your pin will be handled a lot, spray the quills with several coats of sealer to protect them.  Next, take a 1-1/4″ long coiless pin slip on three blue tight coils, then four more tight coils in this order: white, red, white, red. When it is fully loaded, shut the pin and crimp the clasp with your pliers so it cannot come open.  Repeat for two more pins.  Load the five remaining coiless pins with seven tight coils in this order: red, white, red, white, red, white, red.  Crimp the clasps to secure the beads. 
Using the photo as a guide, assemble your American Flag pin by placing the eight 1-1/4″ pins on the shaft of the 2″ pin, making sure they are in the right order.  With the front of the pin facing you, wrap one end of the wire around left-hand side of the shaft of the 2″ pin several times then run it through the pin loop to secure it.  Wrap the wire several times around the handle of your quilling tool to form little coils.  Secure the remaining end of the wire to the clasp end of the 2″ safety pin.  In honor of our brave troops, tie the yellow ribbon onto the wire loop and clip the ends.
Wear your American Flag pin on July 4th or any day you want to show your national pride!
For my international readers
I encourage you to take this idea and adapt it to your own country’s flag. 
coiless-safety-pin*Coiless safety pins have the same basic shape as regular safety pins, but instead of having a circle loop of wire at the end, the wire simply bends. I used The Jewelry Shoppe brand coiless pins that I found at Hobby Lobby.  If you can’t find coiless pins, you can certainly use regular safety pins, but you will have to purchase them a bit longer because you will lose a bit of available space due to the coil.  Also, if you use regular safety pins to hold your tight coil beads, you will need to pull apart the double looped end of the two inch long safety pin wide enough to slide the other safety pin loops through to the other side of the pin. 
Quilling Tip:  A Google image search will bring up a multitude of wonderful pictures when you need creative inspiration.  Don’t limit your search to quilling, but look at all types of images from clip art to photographs.  You never know what you might find … or where it might lead you in your creative journey.

6 responses so far

Jun 18 2009

Announcing the release of “Quilling with Confidence” E-book

I have exciting news!!  My new e-book, “Quilling with Confidence”, has just been released, and is being offered free to visitors on my blog. 
I’ve long wanted to share the techniques of quilling, and have put together a digital book filled with great information that I wish I had known when I first started quilling. 
quillingcover3d6Along with a bit about the background history of this fascinating art form, I’ll introduce you to the tools and supplies you’ll need to get started.  Then its time to learn the basics of quilling –coils and scrolls — and how to assemble your completed piece of quillwork.   I’ve even included three new projects to try, from beginner to more advanced.  These are complete projects and include more than just the pattern for the quilling itself.  You’ll find a photo of the completed piece, a materials list, and a line drawing of the quilling you can print off and use with your quilling work board.  This e-book is chock full of helpful hints and tips, and even has a section that addresses common quilling problems.  


This is a downloadable copy, and I want to send you one. Just sign up for my newsletter so you can keep up to date with more patterns and additional ideas and tips, and I’ll get you your copy right away!


Your information will not be shared, and the e-book is free to everyone, so I hope you’ll take a moment to subscribe and get your copy now!


Let’s start quilling today!!

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